Sanitation: a Global Business Opportunity


While the world recovers from the shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some future trends are emerging defining our life and the global economy. What could be the trending opportunities for innovative companies in the post-COVID world? In the first of a short Budapest Business Journal series presented in cooperation with the Tungsram Group, president & CEO Joerg Bauer shares his vision on sanitation as a global business opportunity.

Joerg Bauer

Disinfection and contamination avoidance stand at the core of the battle against the coronavirus: we need masks, protective gear, and disinfectant liquids to slow down the spread of the virus.  

Sooner or later, a vaccine will be available. For a long time to come, however, fear of pathogens will remain with us. The existence of multi-resistant bacteria (pathogens that can resist different kinds of antibiotics and on top of that, are proliferating in hospitals, of all places) that had already caused problems even before the coronavirus pandemic also contributes to this fear.

The disinfectant, sterilization, and hygiene industry offer considerable growth opportunities. The demand will be huge: Sterilization equipment on its own generated a USD 6 billion turnover in 2016, and within five years, the market will probably double.

The methods of doing away with viruses are well-known: UV-C, a type of ultraviolet light, as well as ozone or heat, are reliable methods. The development of certain casings and special cover layers is also directed at killing pathogens, or at least making their survival more difficult. Several companies have come forward with innovative developments in this area.

Virus Killer UV-C

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, it was estimated industrial UV-disinfection would become a USD 2.8 billion market, with Europe at its obvious focal point. With UV-C technology Tungsram has been developing since its independence gained in 2018, water, air, and surface materials, even foods and developing plants, can all be disinfected.

In most cases, UV-C renders traditional procedures unnecessary. A technology that it is possible to permanently integrate, it is also applicable as a mobile solution, transferable to the venue to be disinfected. In special Tungsram cabinets, it can free materials, medical equipment or protective gear from infectious viruses and bacteria.

Self-disinfectant Floors and Walls

Several years ago, Hungaryʼs Graboplast caught sight of the opportunity in developing disinfectant surfaces. By applying its patented TECH Surface technology, it developed a flexible floor covering, one that offers a solution to the most urgent healthcare problems: infections that are burgeoning in hospitals.

This is the first photocatalytic self-disinfecting surface. Its self-disinfecting quality is guaranteed by a double defense system consisting of nanosilver and NanoTiO2 particles. Graboplast has also devised and manufactured a wall covering possessing a surface that has proven to be effective.

New Methods for Clean Water

Access to safe drinking water is one of the most effective methods to maintain human health and diminish poverty. According to the World Health Organization’s 2017 report, 2.1 billion people don’t have a proper quality of drinking water in their home.

Beyond the utilization of traditional chemical-based disinfectant methods in the water industry, in recent years the Hungarian company Aquaprofit has placed a great emphasis on research and development work.

As part of a R&D tender, it developed what it calls Intelligent Water Aid Technology, mobile water cleaning equipment, particularly aimed at offering clean drinking water in regions where the infrastructure serving clean water has not been established, or electricity is absent.

Since October 2019, in Tunisia, its IWAT equipment running on solar energy has been cleaning the water of a contaminated mountain brook.  

Tungsram welcomes innovative companies and startups within the infection protection field, from all over the world, to find solutions that are important for Hungary and the global market. We are seeking areas of application, references in hospitals, hotels, in the food industry, in public transport.

For this, we need a partnership between companies, universities, and research centers in our country; alone, we cannot manage it.

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